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Starcatcher (YA/NA Fantasy)

Fiction Fantasy Young Adult

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#1 ebaker

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Posted 20 March 2017 - 09:25 PM

Tharia Vask has never believed in the stars. They guide your fate, the story goes, but when have physics ever influenced the future? Even more ridiculous are the rumors hikers spread of stars in the mountains, as if they could cast off heat and mass on a whim and come to earth.

 

Stars are a myth. Tharia firmly believes this—until she encounters a light, deep in the woods.

 

The healers tell her she succumbed to hypothermia and hallucinated the experience. She used to say the same of anyone who claimed to have seen Stars. But this time, it’s different. The light has marked her, etching its existence into her palm.

 

When several Stars appear at a festival and level the venue, a man named Verno Lasien approaches her, claiming to be a researcher studying the strange lights. They’re called Lumelles, they’re weapons, and they’ve bonded to her mind. They’ll destroy her if she’s not careful. Claiming that Tharia is the key to understanding what they are, Verno proposes that she join House Lasien and assist with the research, maybe finding a way to save her sanity in the process. The alternative? Remain home until a vengeful mob assembles to lynch her.

 

Convinced that he’s a Paselle, someone with power over thoughts, Tharia is loath to believe a word he says, but surrounded by the destruction wrought by her ignorance, she has little choice.  Reluctantly, she  accompanies him to the neighboring country.

 

Tharia has always been a skeptic, but as the hidden reality behind the Lumelles emerges, she realizes that she hasn’t questioned nearly enough. Uncovering the truth of the Stars might save her mind, but it will shatter her world.

 

 

QUESTIONS:

Tharia's prior belief in the Stars is irrelevant to the story, but the Stars themselves are significant and this seems like a good way to preface their introduction. Is opening the query this way misleading?

 

Much of the conflict in the book stems from events in the past; the revelation of these events is the driving force behind the second half. The events themselves are a major plot twist; would it be better to mention the past, or leave it out?



#2 Brendan.Corbley

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Posted 25 March 2017 - 09:57 AM

Tharia Vask has never believed in the stars. They guide your fate, the story goes, but when have physics ever influenced the future? Even more ridiculous are the rumors hikers spread of stars in the mountains, as if they could cast off heat and mass on a whim and come to earth. I feel like you could eliminate this entire opening.

 

Stars are a myth. Tharia firmly believes this—until she encounters a light, deep in the woods. This reads and flows much better than your hook, in my opinion, and could be used as a hook.

 

The healers tell her she succumbed to hypothermia and hallucinated the experience. She used to say the same of anyone who claimed to have seen Stars. But this time, it’s different. The light has marked her, etching its existence into her palm. Who are the healers? What experience?

 

When several Stars appear at a festival and level the venue, a man named Verno Lasien approaches her, claiming to be a researcher studying the strange lights. They’re called Lumelles, they’re weapons, and they’ve bonded to her mind. They’ll destroy her if she’s not careful. Claiming that Tharia is the key to understanding what they are, Verno proposes that she join House Lasien and assist with the research, maybe finding a way to save her sanity in the process. The alternative? Remain home until a vengeful mob assembles to lynch her. Why is a mob going to lynch her?

 

Convinced that he’s a Paselle, someone with power over thoughts, Tharia is loath to believe a word he says, but surrounded by the destruction wrought by her ignorance, she has little choice.  Reluctantly, she  accompanies him to the neighboring country. What destruction?

 

Tharia has always been a skeptic, but as the hidden reality behind the Lumelles emerges, she realizes that she hasn’t questioned nearly enough. Uncovering the truth of the Stars might save her mind, but it will shatter her world. I really like this closing line.

 

I feel like you should definitely break down your synopsis into a simple hook and follow it with a short, concise plot overview. Many of the details of the plot seem very vague as well, as listed here at least. I would try and focus on the most alluring part of your story and use strong vocabulary to try and persuade an agent that this is a story worth telling. Good luck!



#3 newb

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Posted 28 March 2017 - 06:18 PM

I agree with Brendan. The "stars are a myth" line works really well as an opening hook, maybe you could lose the next lines about the healer and mention what the stars do to her on the first hook line e.g. "until she encounters a light deep in the woods and ends up with super powers or whatever effect it has on her that she can't control and kills a lot of people at the festival."

 

Then you can go straight to "a researcher approaches her, but she's convinced he's a Paselle..."

 

I like the part of the Lumelles being bonded to her mind and can destroy her if she's not careful. That's a lot at stake for her.



#4 ebaker

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 12:45 AM

Thanks for the feedback! I agree with what you both said: a lot of this could be eliminated/tightened. 

 

"Stars are a myth" was my original hook, but I couldn't think of a way to open with that without sounding like real stars don't exist. Any ideas?



#5 newb

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 05:51 AM

I think encountering them in the woods in the following line suggests you don't mean actual stars. You can maybe add in the following paragraph what stars are, but from reading the rest of the query I kinda get the jist they aren't your usual stars in the sky.



#6 perpetual

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Posted 04 April 2017 - 10:15 AM

By the second line after "Stars are a myth", I got the impression they're not real stars in the sky.

 

Also, I think in the second half, the stakes/conflict needs to be more clear. e.g. why is your MC at risk of losing her mind? and why would it shatter her world? it's important to find that balance where you give us something coherent to grasp on without spoilers. :)

 

also, not sure how you're marketing your novel in your query, but both YA and NA have very specific commercial requirements. NA itself generally is contemporary and revolves around a romance. (for now, slowly changing.) YA doesn't just have a young protagonist but also specifically addresses challenges teens face and the voice relates to how teens speak, etc. so if your story doesn't fit these categories (which from your query, i'm getting the sense that it doesn't), i'd market it as just a fantasy and leave out the YA/NA. Because you CAN have an adult fantasy with a young MC.

 

Also, if you have a chance, I'd love your thoughts on my query! :)


Query: Click here.

 






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